Login | Register
31/10/2017

Government funding for supported housing

Words: Laura Edgar
Supported housing / Shutterstock_482413720

The government has set out plans that aim to protect and encourage the supply of a range of supported housing.

All long-term housing will remain in the welfare system while a ‘sheltered rent’ will be introduced.

The move follows Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement last week that Local Housing Allowance rates will no longer apply to social housing, including supported housing.

Local areas will be able to a take a bigger role in providing short-term and emergency housing through a ring-fenced grant to local authorities by April 2020, allowing vulnerable people to access secure accommodation without worrying about meeting housing costs at a difficult point in their lives.

The government said the grant will be underpinned by a National Statement of Expectation setting out how local authorities should plan for supported housing.

Sheltered rent, for sheltered and extra care housing, will keep rent and service charges at an appropriate level.

The government noted that it recognises that the supply of supported housing, with the vast majority provided for older people, needs to increase as the country’s ageing population means that demand is forecast to increase.

Supported accommodation, including housing costs, is currently funded through the welfare system. These reforms aim to ensure funding certainty for the sector; encourage long-term investment and new supply; and councils have a stronger role in providing the right services for their local areas.

Marcus Jones, local government minister, said: “These reforms will deliver quality and value for money, funding certainty for the sector and give local areas a greater role in commissioning services.”

The measures have been published following a joint consultation - Funding for Supported Housing - held by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Department for Work and Pensions and form part of the government's response to it.

Caroline Dinenage, minister for family support, housing and child maintenance, said: “We value the important role supported housing plays and that’s why we have worked closely with providers and listened to their feedback to come up with solutions that will safeguard its future and improve support for those that need a home that is safe and secure.

“The new flexible funding model and reforms will give housing providers certainty over future funding and drive up quality and provide value for money.”

The government has launched two consultations on these measures. Details about both can be found on the DCLG website.


Reaction:

David Orr, chief executive at the National Housing Federation, said these reforms and last week’s removal of the Local Housing Allowance cap, represent a “welcome and significant” shift from the government and shows it recognises the value and importance of supported and sheltered housing.

“I am confident the new system outlined by the government addresses concerns about the long-term stability of funding for most schemes. This, coupled with assurances about levels of funding and a new timetable of 2020, will give housing associations the certainty they need to keep providing and building these homes.”

Orr did warn though that the implications of a system where housing costs are paid through a local authority grant are considered.

Colin Noble, County Councils Network (CCN) spokesperson for health & social care and leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “CCN welcomes today’s announcements on supported housing, giving upper-tier local authorities a greater role in commissioning and overseeing short-term supported accommodation. In particular, county leaders will welcome the government’s recommendation that counties lead strategic plans for supported housing and needs assessment.

“This is a recognition of their strategic role in local areas, in social care and wider service provision, allowing them to plan for the right supported homes and services in the right places, working in partnership with local health partners and district councils.

“The model proposed in this consultation is a model that should be considered in other policy areas, most notably in planning and infrastructure where a strategic role for counties could unlock development in two-tier areas.”

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates that the government rightly sees councils as crucial when it comes to providing supported housing for some of their most vulnerable residents. Ensuring that no cap will be applied to housing benefit, and that funding will be kept at current levels for short-term accommodation, is a hugely positive first step towards putting all supported housing on a more secure footing.

“Councils are champions of vulnerable people. Whether it’s elderly people in sheltered accommodation, people with learning and developmental disabilities, or people who face homelessness, councils need the resources to be able to make sure that they are adequately protected and housed.”


Read more:

Funding for supported housing (consultation responses)

Funding for supported housing - two consultations

Future of supported housing: government response to the select committee

RTPI: Good local planning is key to controlling dementia cost


Image credit | Shutterstock

Tags